Tsvetana Pironkova and Kaia Kanepi, who made it to the semifinals and quarterfinals of Wimbledon, respectively, continue to succeed by enjoying first round wins at the Palermo Open. Writes an Associated Press article, “Bulgaria’s Pironkova beat Anna Floris of Italy 6-4, 7-6 at the claycourt tournament at the Country Time Club Viale dell’Olimpo stadium, while Estonia’s Kanepi beat Rossana De Los Rios of Paraguay 7-5, 6-4.”
This is an excellent effort for the two players, and it’ll be interesting to see how their improved form and confidence inspire their games once the US Open series starts in the next couple weeks. I’m guessing that Pironkova’s finesse, slice forehand, and strong serve take her to new heights.
At the same time, Kanepi’s game might be more prone to falter. I don’t see her outhitting the top guns. With less variety than Pironkova, I wouldn’t give her the same chance to reach the upper echelon of WTA players as the Bulgarian.
What Pironkova has going for her is the surprise factor. Players these days — except for a few notable players, such as Patty Schnyder — go for overwhelming power. When an opponent has the ability to absorb that power, like Pironkova, and then turn that power into offense through pace-changing play and getting every ball back, chaos ensues. Pironkova has that ability; Kanepi doesn’t.
Plus, if Pironkova can keep up the serving throughout the hard court season, her chances to win a title on the WTA tour — can you believe it’d be her first title? — would be high. One would think a game like hers doesn’t translate well to the hard courts, but if it worked on grass — who really knows?